How do new communication technologies change diplomatic practices? How does this in turn transform international politics? Diplomats are commonly using social media and messaging applications to communicate with their peers and the public. For instance, they use WhatsApp groups to coordinate initiatives at multilateral forums, communicate more rapidly with headquarters and stay in touch with organizational developments at home, as well as form more personal working relations among their peers. They use X (formerly Twitter) to engage with large audiences and frame public narratives. To make sense of these phenomena and their consequences, this talk does not separate digital practices from offline/traditional ways of doing things. Building on the practice turn in International Relations, it will discuss how traditional practices are supplemented by new communication technologies. This speaks to the current state of international relations in important ways. Diplomacy is not epiphenomenal or operating as a neutral medium: diplomatic sites are where international relations are produced, reproduced and changed through meaningful and patterned activities. The transformation of diplomatic practices has thus broad consequences on international politics. All this will be illustrated with examples of diplomats’ work at the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) in Geneva and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels.
About the speaker
Dr Jérémie Cornut is professor in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. He holds a Ph.D. in political science (2012, Université du Québec à Montréal/École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales). He has held research positions at McGill University, the University of Waterloo, the Université du Québec à Montréal and the University of Southern California. His teaching and research focus on diplomacy, practice theory, international relations theory, and Canadian foreign policy. His recent publications include: “Emotional Practices and How we Can Trace them. Diplomats, Emojis and Multilateral Negotiations at the UNHRC” (International Studies Quarterly, 2022); “WhatsApp with Diplomatic Practices in Geneva? Diplomats, Digital Technologies, and Adaptation in Practice” (International Studies Review, 2022, co-authored with I. Manor and C. Blumenthal); and “The liquidification of international politics and Trump’s (un)diplomacy on Twitter.” (International Politics, 2021, co-authored with S. Harris Rimmer and I. Choi). He is currently Associate Editor at the Hague Journal of Diplomacy.